BRADENTON -- Phil Walters and Aaron Bishop have played in the same Friday group at Bobby Jones Golf Complex in Sarasota in recent weeks.
Neither had a partner for the eighth annual Bradenton City Two-Man Combo Championship.
So they teamed together for the first-time ever and walked away from Sunday’s final round with the title at River Run Golf Links.
The duo shot a 64 for a 127 total on the par-70 layout to edge two teams at 129.
One of those teams included David Peabody and Ray Wenck, who carded the tournament’s low round on Sunday.
The pair posted a 61, which included a scorching 29 in the modified alternate shot format on the city-owned track’s back nine.
Saturday’s round featured a scramble and best-ball format.
A shamble format was used with the modified alternate shot in Sunday’s final round.
“I’m a much better best ball player, because for some reason, I feel like he’s depending on me so I feel like I have to a hit a better tee shot than I normally would hit,” said Walters, a Bradenton resident.
For Walters and Bishop, the only hiccup came on the tourney’s final hole.
The par-5 is a perfect risk/reward finishing hole. It’s reachable in two if one can find the fairway.
They couldn’t find the short grass and had to take a penalty after dropping.
Bishop then hit well short in the water for another penalty. A two-putt followed on the green for a double-bogey.
It didn’t matter though. The pair had played so well before the last hole that victory was academic even if a Jean Van de Velde moment creeped in.
“The lead was big enough, so it was alright,” Bishop said. “... If you can keep it in the fairway here, the course is so short you normally (have) 8, 9 and wedges in your hand. It helps.”
Bishop triumphed on the same course for his first-ever individual title during last November’s Bradenton City Men’s Amateur.
Walters, a former Bradenton and Sarasota City Men’s Amateur champ, claimed the runner-up spot to Bishop last fall.
On Sunday, though, the pair came out of the gate to fire a 5-under par front nine and take a lead heading to the back nine against first-round leaders Daniel Willis and Mark Setsma, who shot 62 on Saturday.
“We picked up four shots on the front side,” Walters said. “We birdied 10 and picked up another shot. We made par on 11 and they doubled.”
That gave Walters and Bishop a healthy cushion over Willis and Setsma, who eagled the 18th hole to finish at 129 alongside Peabody and Wenck.
Other flight winners were: Paul and Kris Vasallo (first flight, 138 total), Jeff and Jay Jaudon (second flight, 146 total) and Rick Cooper and Bruce Munro (third flight, 155 total).
The next Bradenton City event is the 13th annual Two-Man Championship on Father’s Day weekend.